UK court sentences Nigeria politician, wife and doctor for organ trafficking scheme News
UK court sentences Nigeria politician, wife and doctor for organ trafficking scheme

UK Metropolitan Police (the Met) Friday announced a UK court sentenced senior Nigerian Senator Ike Ekweremadu to over nine years prison for illegal organ harvesting. A UK court convicted Ekweremadu, along with his wife and a doctor involved in the plot, in March.

Ekweremadu’s wife, Beatrice Nwanneka Ekeweremadu, and Doctor Obinna Obeta were also sentenced to four and ten years, respectively, for their role in the plot. The victim, 21 years of age, informed detectives the trio had arranged to remove his kidney and donate it to the Ekweremadus’ daughter. The victim reported to police that the couple led him to believe he was being brought to the UK to earn money for his family.

Following the trio’s conviction, Detective Superintendent Andy Furphy, who serves as the lead for the Met’s Modern Slavery and Child Exploitation unit, committed to “tackling modern slavery, human trafficking and exploitation in all its forms.” Furphy warned the public, “Modern slavery is all around us.” To help further the Met’s Modern Slavery and Child Exploitation unit’s work, Furphy asked for the public’s help to “identify potential victims of trafficking and exploitation to bring defendants to justice and to protect the vulnerable.”

Julie Carrie, the Victim Navigator Program Manager at Justice and Care, applauded the victim for his bravery, stating, “We applaud the man’s bravery for giving evidence in the case and the tireless work of the police involved in the investigation. We hope the trial sends a clear message out to other traffickers that they will be pursued.”

The prosecution is the first of its kind under the Modern Slavery Act 2015 in the UK. Section 3(4) of the act provides that a person is exploited if they are “encouraged, required or expected to do anything which involves the…commercial dealings in organs.” The act consolidated and simplified existing offenses involving modern slavery into a single piece of legislation. Previously, defendants were charged under section 33 of the Human Tissue Act 2004, which is restricted to transplants involving a live donor.